Photo: Dereliction of Duty II
The Police Development Programme (PDP), the largest of its kind, was a five-year project designed to boost Iraqi security forces when US troops left the country last December.It had been pitted as the centrepiece for America’s ongoing reconstruction effort in the region.
Included in the plans, was a bid to turn over the $108 million Baghdad Police College Annex to Iraqis by the end of the year and an end to training at a $98 million site at the US consulate in the southern city of Basra. Additionally, the number of advisers was to be cut by nearly 90 per cent – from 350 to 36.
But diplomats at the American embassy in Baghdad, who were tasked with implementing the programme, failed to receive written commitment from Iraq to participate, a report by the Special Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction said, leading inspectors to query whether the $200 million initiative was wanted or needed.
“A major lesson learned from Iraq is that host country buy-in to proposed programs[sic] is essential to the long-term success of relief and reconstruction activities. The PDP experience powerfully underscores that point,” auditors wrote in a 41-page summary of their inspection given to The Associated Press.
The findings also call into question funding needs at the embassy, the largest US delegation in the world, as the Obama administration prepares its new spending plan for the next fiscal year.
Carol Perez, the acting assistant secretary of state, disputed the report claiming the resources were still being used despite the lack of express written consent.
She added that the embassy had the assurances of Adnan al-Asadi, Iraq’s principal deputy interior minister, that the country was committed to the training initiative.
However, Mr Al-Asadi was quoted as telling inspectors that the police training programme was “useless”.
“[He] indicated that Iraqi police officers had expressed their opinion that the training received to date was not beneficial,” the audit said.
Mr Al-Asadi could not be reached for comment, but a key member of the parliament’s security oversight committee said that US training was no longer needed.
“The Iraqi federal police went through many training courses, in many fields, and that resulted in having many experts and specialist academies,” Shiite politician Hakim al-Zamili said. “At this point, we don’t need the American expertise, because of the expertise we have now.”
The US has spent about $8 billion to train and equip Iraqi police since the 2003 US-led invasion, auditors said. At that time, there were about 58,000 police in Iraq. The report said that number had grown to 412,000 by 2010. Other estimates put the size of Iraq’s federal, local and border police force at 650,000.
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